Neha Patil (Editor)

2013 in Somalia

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2013 in Somalia

This is a timeline of events in the War in Somalia (2009–present).


January 2

  • Reports from Bardhere city of Gedo region says that top al Shabaab military officials in that city now started to move out of the city after the Somali National Army forces reportedly made tactical move towards the city. Adan Ahmed Rufle, who is one of the Somali military officials in the region who spoke to Mustaqbal radio said that the top leaders of al Shabaab in the region are now fleeing and heading to the remote areas. “They now started to flee as usual, and our forces are now heading to the city to restore peace and law in the city,” said Mr. Rufle. There are no comments from al Shabaab regarding their withdrawal from Bardhere.
  • January 4

  • Al-Shabaab issue an ultimatum to estranged American commander Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki (Omar Hammami) to either turn himself in to his comrades by Saturday, January 19, or face execution. The move came after Al-Amriki had issued a series of criticisms of the outfit's leaders via several online videos and his abumamerican Twitter account. He accused senior Al-Shabaab commanders of keeping the spoils of war for themselves while not sharing it with the rank-and-file insurgents who fought for it, and instead imprisoning them for touching it. He also charged the group's senior commanders of focusing too much on internal struggles in Somalia rather than the global jihad, and of assigning assassins to kill fellow militants.
  • According to local sources, Al Shabaab militants in the Galgala mountain range launch an attack on a Puntland military base in the Laag area, located 30 km south of the commercial hub of Bosaso. The ambush attempt reportedly left one militant dead.
  • January 5

  • Somali military troops and their Ethiopian army allies fend off an Al-Shabaab ambush attempt in an area between the southern towns of Luuq and Garbaharey. According to Somali military representatives, 23 Al Shabaab fighters were killed, while two of their men were killed in the ensuing battle; seven other soldiers injured. The allied forces are marching towards the rebel group's last remaining strongholds in the southern Gedo region, including Bardhere.
  • January 11

  • According to the French government, Al-Shabaab fighters kill intelligence officer Denis Allex and two French soldiers in an unsuccessful rescue attempt by French forces. Al-Shabaab assert in a press statement that Allex is still alive and in its custody, at a location far removed from the scene of the operation, and that one of the two soldiers was captured alive but wounded (they claimed he died later). A DGSE operative, Allex had been held since 2009, when he was taken hostage by the insurgents while training Somali government troops. In exchange for his release, Al-Shabaab had demanded cessation of French support for the Somali authorities and the complete withdrawal from Somalia of AMISOM forces. According to the French Ministry of Defence, 17 militants were also slain in the crossfire.
  • 18–22 February

  • Somali government forces with the support of AMISOM capture the towns of Aw-Dheegle, Jannale and Barrire in Lower Shabelle and the Jowhar airfield in Middle Shabelle from Al-Shabaab.
  • 25 February

  • Somali government forces supported by AMISOM troops capture the towns of Dardan and Jirada-Kullow in the Bay region in simultaneous dawn operations.
  • 27 February

  • Somali and African Union forces Wednesday morning took control of rebel-held town of Burhakaba in Bay region without facing resistance from Al-Shabaab militants.The allied forces have been advancing towards the town for the last few days in effort to unseat the more than four-year-old militant rule in the area.Hundreds of locals were reportedly seen at the area police station and the district headquarters welcoming the coalition forces.The capture of Burhakaba is off significant importance for the coalition forces as they seek open up the road between Mogadishu and Baidoa.
  • March 14

  • Somali forces seize control of several key settlements in Bay region. The troops secure Seydelow, Bulo-Jadid and Wariri villages, all located north-west of Baidoa town without facing resistance from the rebel fighters. According to an army official, the forces capture the settlements from the insurgents without encountering any resistance. The militants flee the area hours before the arrival of the government troops. The authorities promise to continue such operations until the whole region is secured.
  • March 17

  • Government troops capture the small southwestern town of Awdinle, situated 30 km from Baidoa.
  • March 18

  • Heavily armed Al-Shabaab militants retake Awdinle following two days of fierce fighting with government troops. A Somali army commander instructs his troops to withdraw from the town. Over ten people mainly consisting of combatants are reportedly killed during the clash. The fighting spreads to other areas between Baidoa and Awdinle.
  • March 25

  • Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari confirms that government troops have recaptured the regional capital of Hudur. The seizure comes a week after militants seized the town following a withdrawal from the area by Somali and Ethiopian troops. The allied forces had hitherto held the town since March 2012.
  • May 10

  • U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson says up to 3,000 African Union soldiers have been killed in Somalia since 2007, fighting the Islamist insurgency.
  • Somali Federal government troops backed by Ethiopian forces captured Awdiinle, located 30 kilometers west of Baidoa.Bay region police boss Mahad Abdirahman Aden told that the joint troops have today fully taken control of Aw-Diinle town which was a key stronghold of the Al-Qaeda-allied Al-Shabaab militant.Mahad added that the troops carried out massive security operations in the area and advised the local residents to work with the joint forces.
  • May 27

  • A US drone flying a routine surveillance mission along the coast of Somalia crashes in a remote area near Bulo Marer (a coastal town in the southwestern Lower Shebelle region). The Pentagon confirmed the loss of the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 small UAV, after Al-Shabaab published photos of the wreckage. Sources consider it "quite likely" the drone was flying an espionage mission for the CIA. Bulo Marer is the place where a French Intelligence operation failed to rescue Denis Allex in January 2013.
  • May 29

  • An investigation by German TV channel ARD’s "Panorama" and the Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that since 2011, the Stuttgart-based US military High Command for Africa (Africom) and the US Air Force’s Air Operations Center (AOC), located in Ramstein (Germany) have been guiding the targeted killing of presumed terrorists in Somalia by US Air Force drones. German officials, however, denied knowledge of such operations.
  • June 17

  • Somali government and AMISOM troops take control of the towns of Mubarak, Ugunji, Nuun and Furuqley in the Qoryoley and Audinley districts of the Lower Shabelle region, forcing out Al-Shabaab.
  • Somali government forces with the support of African Union troops and Ethiopian forces launched an offense against Al-Qaeda-linked Somali rebels, capturing villages near the central town of Beledweyne. Amisom troops commander in Hiiraan region Col Osman Dubad told that joint troops have captured areas including Luq-Jesow, Baar, El-Ali, and Bardhere villages.Dubad underlined that the troops detained at least 11 Al-Shabaab fighters and sympathers during the operation.
  • June 19

  • The UN's Development Program offices in Mogadishu come under attack by Islamist militants when a suicide car bomb explodes outside, followed up by an assault by at least four gunmen. Somali security forces swarmed the scene, triggering a gun battle that lasted over an hour and left at least 15 people dead. Among the dead are four foreigners believed to be from Great Britain and South Africa, along with at least seven militants, according to sources. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging that they had killed 16 UN workers during the battle. Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon condemned the attack and praised the rapid response of the Somali military and its AMISOM allies.
  • June 20

  • Fighting breaks out between militants loyal to overall leader, Ahmed Godane, and others loyal to American-born Al-Amriki (Omar Hamami). It is reported that Godane's men killed a Sudanese national who belonged to Al Amriki's faction and dragged his body in the streets of Barawe town. It is believed that the division within al Shabaab is not yet settled, as previously Godane's fighters and Al Amriki's men clashed several times. The latest news from Barawe town adds that an operation is being conducted by Godane's militants against foreign troops led by Al Amriki. Godane's men outmuscled Al Amriki's fighters during the intensive combat. On June 29, it is also reported that senior Al-Shabaab commanders Ibrahim Al Afghani and Moalim Burhan were also killed during the fighting. Al Afghani had a $5 million bounty placed on him by the U.S. government.
  • June 28

  • UN reports that the Al-Shabaab spiritual leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys has turned himself in to pro-government officials in the central town of Adado. Local elders assert that he and his militia are stationed in the central Galmudug region, having fled from their own comrades in Al-Shabaab-controlled territory after a bout of infighting. According to the Shabelle Media Network, legislators and elders flew in to the town in an attempt to persuade Aweys to negotiate with the government. However, the elders indicate that their efforts were unsuccessful.
  • June 30

  • Aweys is arrested by Somali government forces, after flying in to Mogadishu for talks with the federal authorities.
  • July 4

  • The World Health Organization reported that massive clashes had occurred in Kismayo, where Raskamboni movement and Barre Adan Shire Hiiraale militia were battling for control of the city. The resulting clashes resulted in at least seventy fatalities and over 300 injuries, according to WHO, with at least forty of whom required surgical care. The Somali government has blamed Kenyan troops serving under AMISOM of mismanagement of the local peacekeeping efforts aimed at quelling resistance from Al-Shabaab in the region, as well as covertly supporting rival militias opposed to the government.
  • August 8

  • Somali National Army forces assisted by AMISOM troops kill 24 Al-Shabaab fighters in Afmadow district, following a midnight raid by the insurgent group. According to Jubaland security official General Ismail Sahardid, seven militants were also apprehended, and two civilians were wounded after mortars struck houses in the town. Additionally, the allied forces seized military equipment from the insurgents, including arms.
  • September 4

  • In a phone interview with VOA, Omar Hammami (Abu Mansour al-Amriki) announces that he has renounced links with both Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda. He cites Al-Shabaab commander Godane's assassination attempt against him, as well as the murder by Godane's faction of an individual who reportedly offered shelter to his two wives as the main reasons for his severing of ties with the insurgent group. Hammami also asserts that he still regards himself as a jhadist, and indicates that he is hiding in parts of the southern Bakool and Bay regions.
  • September 12

  • Al-Shabaab member Sheik Abu Mohammed announces that Omar Hammami (Abu Mansour Al-Amriki) is killed in an ambush in the southern Bay region. Mohammed asserts that his associates carried out the assassination on the orders of the militant group's leader. However, the insurgents did not offer any evidence of Hammami's death.
  • September 19

  • Somali National Army forces assisted by AMISOM troops seize the Middle Shebelle provincial town of Mahadeey from Al-Shabaab. The militants withdrew from the area following an early morning raid by the allied forces, with no casualties reported. It was one of the last urban centers that the insurgent group controlled. The raid is the first major territorial gain by the allied forces in several months after a hiatus in military operations. According to government officials, the offensive represents the start of a mobbing out operation intended to eliminate remnants of Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda.
  • September 20

  • Qoqani sees heavy fighting between Al-Shabaab militants and AMISOM's Kenyan contingent.
  • September 21

  • Al-Shabaab claims responsibility over Twitter for the Westgate centre shooting, an armed attack in a Nairobi shopping mall. The insurgent group asserts that its militants shot around 100 people in retaliation for the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia, with the Kenyan Red Cross confirming 30 fatalities and 60 injuries.
  • September 25

  • Somali government forces assisted by AMISOM troops capture the town of Biyo Adde from Al-Shabaab. Remnants of the insurgent group withdrew from the Middle Shabelle settlement following a march toward the city by the allied soldiers and their armed trucks. According to local reports, three militants were killed during the skirmish.
  • October 5

  • Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab announces that Western naval forces launched an assault on a house in the insurgent stronghold of Baraawe, a coastal town situated around 180 km south of Mogadishu. He states that the foreign soldiers had silencer guns, and exchanged gunfire and grenades with the militants before being driven away. Musab later asserts that the attack was launched by the UK SAS unit as well as Turkish special forces, and that one British commander was killed during the raid and four other SAS operatives were fatally wounded. Additionally, a Somali intelligence official indicates that a Chechen Al-Shabaab leader was the target of the mission, and that the insurgent commander was wounded during the offensive and one of his guards was killed. Somali police also state that the operation had the approval of the Somali government, and that seven individuals were killed during the mission. Both NATO and EU Navfor deny involvement in the raid, as does a Turkish Foreign Ministry representative. A spokeswoman for the British Defence Ministry also says that she and her colleagues are not aware of any British involvement in the operation. According to another Somali intelligence official, the target of the raid was Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane (Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr). A senior US military representative also indicates that Seal Team Six, the special force unit responsible for killing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, launched the offensive but later abandoned the mission after coming under more fire than expected. Speaking about the aborted mission, US Secretary of State John Kerry says that the insurgents "can run but they can't hide". A spokesman for the Pentagon likewise asserts that US soldiers had been involved in a counter-terrorism mission in Somalia against a known Al-Shabaab member, but does not elaborate. He also indicates that there were no US fatalities during the operation. US officials later confirm that the target of the raid was Al-Shabaab commander Abdikadar Mohamed Abdikadar "Ikrima". A few days after the raid, on October 8, Somali Defense Minister Abdulhakim Haji Faqi said operations to remove Al-Shabaab from Baraawe and other areas under the group's control would begin soon. However, he did not give a specific date.
  • October 19

  • Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for a suicide bomb attack against a cafeteria in Beledweyne frequented by Somali and Ethiopian military forces. Around 20 people were reportedly killed during the explosion, including six Somali soldiers. Another 35 individuals were being treated for injuries, among whom was a Somali legislator and three Ethiopian soldiers. Local police subsequently imposed a curfew, and additional Somali National Army and AMISOM forces were deployed to the town to strengthen security. The death toll was later reduced to 16.
  • October 20

  • President Museveni of Uganda receives revelations by Ugandan AMISOM soldiers on corruption within the force. The allegations affect the combat-readiness of the African Union forces. Ugandan soldiers in the 45th Battalion recounted how they were given rotten or stale rations while their commanders sold the good food in the market, forcing them to rely on their counterparts from other countries for food. AMISOM's armoured vehicles are not used in battle except for public relations gimmicks in Mogadishu. The forces' commanders do not want to use battle tanks because they consume a lot of fuel and this would leave little or no fuel for sale to the market. They would requisition fuel for the tanks but sell it instead. The Ugandan commanders used to force soldiers to sign and acknowledge receipt of fuel even when the fuel delivery trucks were empty. Some of the commanders allegedly also traded guns and bullets with Somali civilians, including possibly Al-Shabaab militants. Museveni promised "to handle those traitors who tarnished Uganda’s name." 24 officers were recalled/suspended, including the Ugandan contingent commander Brigadier Michael Ondoga.
  • October 24

  • Somali Federal Government troops aided by Ethiopian forces clash with al Shabaab militants in the Bay region of Southern Somalia. The fighting erupted between Bay regional districts of Ufurow and Awdiinle after truckloads of Somali government forces attacked a roadblock set up by Al Shabaab militia men on the strategic road connecting Bay to the border region of Gedo. According to witnesses, ten people from the opposing sides died in the battle and Al Shabaab fighters fled the vicinity after Ethiopian troops reinforced the Somali government forces. Five soldiers were brought at Baidoa General Hospital for medical treatment.
  • October 28

  • A drone strike by the US Joint Special Operations Command on a vehicle near the town of Jilib in Lower Shabelle kills two senior Somali members of Al-Shabaab: Warsame Balle and Ibrahim Ali Abdi, the latter also known as Anta Anta, an explosives specialist known for his skill in building and using homemade bombs and suicide vests. Analysts suggest that the strike may have originated from the Chabelley Airfield, a rarely used airstrip in the desert of Djibouti recently adapted by the United States to enable temporary operations with armed and reconnaissance drones.
  • AMISOM starts investigating Ugandan troops for allegedly selling off their weapons, which end up in the hands of Al-Shabaab militants. The investigations follow recent reports by a UN monitoring group that raised queries over machine guns that were bought from Mogadishu's Baakara market that belonged to AMISOM forces. 8 of the 11 guns the monitors bought there were traced to AMISOM stock. Some of the weapons seized from Al-Shabaab also once belonged to AMISOM. 90% of certain types of munitions for sale in Somalia's arms market had lot numbers corresponding to numbers reservedly distributed to AMISOM forces. Ugandan soldiers have accused their commander of selling arms and military supplies to insurgents. Although a Ugandan Army spokesman dismissed the allegations, several Ugandan officers have been lined up for prosecution in connection with their activities in Somalia.
  • October 31

  • Kenya Defence Forces destroy an Al-Shabaab camp in Hurguun, in southern Somalia's Dinsoor District, some 50 km east of Dinsoor (town). Four technical vehicles and a weapons store were destroyed, and "many" of the at least 300 new Shabaab recruits present might have been killed or injured. Authorities believe the facility was used to train some of the Westgate mall attackers.
  • November 8

  • Six people, including 4 policeme, are killed and some 15-20 others are wounded after two explosions detonate at the Maka Al-Mukarama hotel in Mogadishu. The first blast occurred inside the hotel’s cafeteria, where a bomb planted inside a laptop exploded. A second explosion occurred outside the hotel where a car loaded with explosives blew up and left the area covered with blood and burning vehicles. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, describing it as successful and asserting that "the target of the attack was apostate security forces and officials."
  • November 11

  • At least ten Al Shabaab militants are reportedly killed in fighting between two opposing Al-Shabaab factions in Bulo Marer in the Lower Shabelle region, when Al-Shabaab men attacked militants loyal to the Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab group of Chief Ahmed Godane, sources said. The fighting is regarded as a sign that dissension and splitting continue to spread within Al-Shabaab ranks.
  • A delegation from the Galmudug Administration arrives in Ba’adweyne in Mudug region with a mission to bring together two warring clan militias in the area. Clan warfare in Ba’adweyne and Amara localities started in 2011 and has claimed the lives of over 200 people while injuring many more. Many families have been displaced after militias burnt down villages in one of the most fierce clan conflicts in the region. The delegation led by Galmudug Minister for Interior Ahmed Mohamud Hassan was to meet with clan elders and local administration officials asking them to work together in bringing lasting peace between the sides.
  • November 12

  • Following in the adoption of resolution 2124(2013), the United Nations Security Council unanimously extends the mandate of AMISOM from 28 February 2014 to 31 October 2014 and increases its maximum authorized strength from 17,731 to 22,126 troops, acting upon a request by the African Union. The AU had initially asked that its troops in Somalia be increased to 26,000. The approved surge is to provide a short-term enhancement of AMISOM’s military capacity, for a period of 18 to 24 months, as part of an overall exit strategy, after which a decrease in AMISOM's force strength will be considered. The Council also calls for an effective resumption of the military campaign against Al-Shabaab, and decides that conditions in Somalia are not yet appropriate for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation. AMISOM's current strength stands at 5,432 troops from Burundi, 1,000 from Djibouti, 3,664 from Kenya, 850 from Sierra Leone and 6,223 troops from Uganda, with a Force Headquarters staff of 81. AMISOM needs the extra troops because it does not have enough capacity to continue to monitor and stabilize the areas liberated from Al-Shabaab. According to the AU's deputy chairman Erastus Mwencha, stabilizing the situation on the ground ultimately entails strengthening the Somali military, encouraging reconciliation and development, and enhancing the government's capacity to secure its territory.
  • November 16

  • The Elephant Action League, an independent organization fighting elephant exploitation and wildlife crime, asserts that the illegal export in poached ivory by Al-Shabaab via ports in southern Somalia provides the group a monthly income of between $200,000 to $600,000 USD. The tusks are cut into blocks and hidden in crates of charcoal, the latter of which is under a UN-imposed embargo.
  • November 17

  • At least 11 people are killed and 15 others injured after Somali National Army troops and a local militia clash in the Lower Shabelle region's KM50 area (about 50 km south of Mogadishu). The gunfight started after the insurgents - angered by the SNA's movement into the region - opened fire on the SNA convoy. Lower Shabelle governor Abdulkadir Mohamed Nuur "Siidii" told reporters that a miscommunication prompted the fighting. Sources said the forces were sent to launch a fresh assault on the towns still under Al-Shabaab’s control. Sporadic gunfire continued into the next day.
  • November 19

  • 28 people (11 police officers, 7 civilians and 10 militants) are killed and at least 11 are injured in an Al-Shabaab attack against a police station in Beledweyne. A car driven by the militants exploded outside the police station; a group of gunmen then stormed the building and began shooting. Pro-government forces soon surrounded the facility, sparking a firefight that lasted several hours. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon subsequently issued a statement condemning the attack, extending condolences to the families of the slain individuals, and commending the Somalian security forces for repelling the assault. He also re-affirmed the UN's support for the Somali government and its institutions.
  • November 24

  • A judge in Mogadishu's Huriwa District is assassinated by unknown gunmen.
  • Six Al-Shabaab fighters are executed on the outskirts of Beledweyne in the south-central Hiraan region by Somali and Djiboutian forces after the six insurgents were found attempting to extort livestock from pastoralists near Jellow village.
  • Somali troops and Ethiopian forces conduct security operations in Baragta Elow, Afar Irdod and other villages between Beledweyne and Bulo Burte (Hiraan Region). The operations follow an attack by Al-Shabab on a police station in Beledweyne a week earlier.
  • November 27

  • Somali government forces aided by AMISOM launch a clean-up operation near Beledweyne, the provincial capital of Hiraan, following a deadly assault on a police station by Al-Shabaab on November 19. The allied forces in the process liberate four villages: Luuq-Jeelow, Shabelley, El-Bar and Buq-Gosar, located a few kilometers from Beledweyne. Al-Shabaab claims to have inflicted heavy losses on Djiboutian forces after an AMISOM convoy was ambushed between Beledweyne and Luuq-Jeelow.
  • November 29

  • Between 8 and 13 people are reported dead in clashes between Puntland forces and residents of Khatumo State autonomous region in Taleh (Khatumo's capital) in northern Somalia's Sool Region. Puntland's Vice President H.E. Abdisamad Ali Shire's security escort in Taleh was attacked with anti-tank and other heavy weapons by an armed Khatumo militia loyal to Mr. Mohamed Yusuf Jama "Indosheel" and only his security escort entered Taleh District. Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called on the parties to end the hostilities. UN Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, also expressed concern and called for calm and reconciliation.
  • November 30

  • A Somali Government judge is assassinated in Mogadishu's Yaqshid District by unknown gunmen.
  • December 1

  • Heavy clashes break out between Government troops backed by AMISOM forces and Al-Shabaab near Baidoa (Bay Region), after Al-Shabaab militants ambushed an armored personnel carrier with a dozen Somali and AMISOM forces between Baidoa and Awdiinle.
  • December 2

  • Community elders from two clans from the Abudwaq and Adado Districts in the Galgaduud region agree to end hostilities in Lamaweyne village. The ceasefire came after federal government and Himan and Heeb officials in the area brokered a deal to bring both clans to the negotiation table. The clans had been fighting over blood feud issues. Both sides agreed to compensate their losses and raise awareness programs for the youth to prevent further conflict. The negotiations were part of the federal government's and Himan and Heeb administration's efforts to resolve longstanding disputes between local clans in the area.
  • December 6

  • Mohamed Warsame Feisal, a member of the Federal Parliament, is killed by an improvised explosive device planted in his vehicle. Three others are reported to have been injured.
  • References

    2013 in Somalia Wikipedia